Urban Justice Lab explore urban activisms in times of austerity in America and Europe and Beyond

One day symposium & film screening

Monday, June 6, 2016

This second instalment of the Global Justice Academy‘s Urban Justice Lab series explores modes of resistance that envision and enact alternate futures. While the conditions of the financial crisis and subsequent austerity policies have produced tremendous hardship for many, they have also provided opportunity to experiment with radical social forms and economies. From squatting, community agriculture, occupy movements, to demands made for inclusion within planning processes, we are interested in the ways in which the conditions of crisis enable, demand, and constrain new collective aspirations. The workshop will engage diverse forms of resistance—both historic and contemporary. The symposium aims to address the following questions:

What are the forms and practices of contemporary urban resistance? What tactics are being deployed to disrupt the priorities of austerity? To what degree did propositions such as ‘free enterprise zones’, ‘urban acupuncture’, ‘city branding’, or ‘creative city’ develop from alternative strategies and tactics which were originally formulated as forms of resistance or social alternatives in the 1970s? Does the demand for citizen empowerment and localism strengthen neoliberal forces by the weakening of the state? Does the post-political condition offer opportunities for more representative and effective urban governance or does it threaten ideas of redistribution and equality? 

Contributors include:

Christine Haigh (Radical Housing Network)

Who saved the cityTatjana Schneider (University of Sheffield)

Isabelle Doucet (University of Manchester)

Penny Travlou (University of Edinburgh)

Grischa Dallmer (web designer, programmer, animator, housing activist) 

Matthias Coers (film maker, housing activist)

At 18.00, immediately following the symposium, there will be a screening and Q&A with the directors of MIETREBELLEN (Rent Rebels), at Hunter Lecture Theatre, Hunter Building, ECA, Lauriston Place


In the last years, Berlin has changed significantly. Flats that once were unattractive are now being used as secure investment objects. The transformation into owner-occupied flats and massive rent increases become an everyday phenomenon. The visible tenant protests in the vibrant metropolis of Berlin are a reaction to the growing shortage of affordable housing. The movie is a kaleidoscope of the tenants’ struggles in Berlin against their displacement out of their neighbourhood communities. Ranging from the occupation of the Berlin town hall to a camp at Kottbusser Tor, the organised prevention of evictions and the struggle of senior citizens for their community center and age-appropriate flats, a new urban protest movement is on the rise.


Monday, June 6, 2016 from 12:30 PM to 7:30 PM (BST) 


University of Edinburgh – Elliot Room, Minto House 20-22 Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1JZ